Updated January. 04, 2014 01:45
South Korea expressed doubt Friday about the "sincerity" in the North Korean leader`s rare peace offensive in his New Year`s speech.
"We have no choice but to question the sincerity" of Kim`s remarks about improved inter-Korean relations, said a spokesperson for Seoul`s Ministry of Unification. The ministry said it was the first official position announced by the South Korean government regarding the North`s New Year message or joint editorial.
"The North is responsible for worsening the inter-Korean ties," the ministry said. "North Korea should show sincere attitude to build trust and take sincere efforts for denuclearization." The official reaction was a multi-purpose message holding Pyongyang accountable for the strained inter-Korean ties but leaving the door open for improvements.
"It was a strong message to the North that if Pyongyang is willing to improve the inter-Korean relations, it should come to the dialogue table with sincerity," a South Korean official said.
In a related move, the Park Geun-hye administration plans to expand inter-Korean exchanges to economic, social and cultural exchanges in the civilian sector in order to make progress in the Trust-Building Process on the Korean Peninsula. The plan indicates that Seoul is ready to respond if Pyongyang seeks dialogue with sincerity, while remain cautious about being overly optimistic about the North.